Vince Villalvalzo Interview

Vince Villalvalzo Interview
by Tattoo Masters Magazine UK
Posted by All Or Nothing Tattoo

As a young boy I had always taken interest in the arts; two arts in particular, the art of Lion taming and the art of tattooing. In 2005 I was determined to pursue my dreams, and since Michigan was having a shortage of sparkly costumes and untamed Lions; I decided to look into tattooing.
When I was a teenager I always had a fascination with tattoos, getting my first one when I was only 15-years-old (which is not something I recommend.) The fascination did not stop there. I began collecting tattoo magazines at a young age, and was intrigued by the various displays of artwork, this added to my heightened interest in the tattoo world.
Ten years after getting my first tattoo I decided to get my first professional one, from Chico in Allen Park, Michigan. This experience re-ignited my interest in tattoos, and Chico inspired me to take a chance at a new career. I spent many years as an interior commercial painter, and occasionally got the chance to do some really cool mural work; which made the job much more fun.  After awhile all I could think about while I was painting, was tattooing.
The thoughts of tattooing started to take over, and I was finally given the opportunity in 2005 to apprentice under Mark and John Madigan at Fat Brothers Tattoos in Highland, Michigan. The next thing I knew my days of painting walls were far behind and I was on my way to becoming America’s Next Top Model. I mean, ugh… a full-time tattoo artist. I continued to push myself as an artist and began to take different approaches to tattooing. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. I had always admired the quality of work that the artists of All or Nothing Tattoo produced, and could have only hoped to work alongside such amazing artists. So when the opportunity came, I packed up my things and headed down to Georgia. I began working here at All or Nothing in October of 2008, and the learning process is continuously evolving. I get to work with awesome artist’s every day and constantly strive to improve myself in every which way. I am grateful for this experience and I am really excited to be here. 

Vince Villalvalzo Interview
by Tattoo Masters Magazine UK

Describe yourself in 140 characters twitter style. 

I'm a simple kind of guy, a family man.  I love food, art, concerts and movies.  I like a good, cold beer, and I love my job!

How long have you been tattooing?

 I have been tattooing for 4 1/2 years now.

How long have you been with ALL OR NOTHING?

 I have been working at All Or Nothing for a year and a half now, and it has been one of the most amazing experiences in every aspect. I'm excited to be able to work with such an amazing group of artists.

Where DID you live before coming to Atlanta?

I lived in Waterford, Michigan. It's a beautiful place!

How did you come to ALL OR NOTHING, tell us the story!?!

 About five years ago, I worked in a small shop named Fat Brothers in the town of Highland, Michigan; located 40 miles north of Detroit, where I did my apprenticeship under Mark and John Madigan. After a couple years of tattooing and becoming a little more comfortable with my work, I decided to start doing guest spots. The first one was at a shop in Miami, and that gave me a little bit of experience. Shortly after coming back home, my good friend John and I were at work, and I was checking out the All Or Nothing site, which I had been doing  a lot even before I started tattooing (because their art blew my mind). I saw this topic that talked about taking some guest artists. At first, I was hesitant to send a message but, I figured it can't hurt to send my portfolio, so I did. In my mind, the chances of getting a response were slim to none. Once I sent my work and contact info I closed my email and forgot about it. I didn't tell anyone that I sent my link in case nothing happened. Two weeks later, I got a call from the shop manager at the time, Dave Tedder, which blew my mind! He was offering a guest spot at the very shop I had been admiring for quite some time. I didn't care that the invite came with a bit of short notice.  I got my sh*t together and flew to Ga. I spent four of the most intense days of my career tattooing there. It was a dream come true! I didn't have much time for anything since I tattooed my a$$ off every day; it was great. Once I got back to Michigan, I was still high from that rush, and was happy because, I landed that spot. It was a big accomplishment in itself. Little did I know two weeks later I would get the call that would change my life in a radical way for the best. It was Dave Tedder, again, offering me a full-time position. I took a month to get my sh*t together, I loaded my truck with everything I could fit in it, and drove myself down to Georgia, and the rest is history.

What brought you to move to Atlanta to work at ALL OR NOTHING?

 It was mostly my desire to excel and grow as an artist. The thought of working with artists, that you respect and look up to, will definitely take you as far as 800 miles from home to be where you are meant to be; so here I am.

What is your favorite type of tattooing to do?

I love a mixture of styles; neo-realistic illustrative, if that works as a description.. I like smooth blends, no lines, bold lines, and texture. Basically, when my clients give me enough freedom, I will just draw something up, tattoo it my way, and so far all my clients are happy with the results.

What machines do you use? How many do you set up for a substantial session? 

I have all kinds of them but, right now my daily drivers are my Martini and Joey Desormeaux machines. I like to have four machines, that way I have everything I may need right there.

What type of needles & groupings do you prefer? How did you come to start using them?

I mainly use nine mags, 13 mags, three, five and nine rounds.

Is Brandon really a psychopath to work for? 

Brandon is one of the most driven people I have ever met. He has a great understanding of the business and tattooing, and I have learned a great deal of both from him.

What has changed about your tattooing since you first walked in the front door of ALL OR NOTHING?

Everything. It has enabled me to grow tremendously as an artist; it has opened my eyes to new and endless possibilities, and I have been able to continuously learn new things.

Everyone that comes arrives at different times, so the list of artists is always in flux. Who have YOU worked with, gotten tattooed by, met or gotten to watch work since coming to ALL OR NOTHING? And how did any of that affect you and your art.

When I began working at All or Nothing, I was excited to meet all of the artists, but aside from Brandon, there was another artist that I had always looked up to and was excited to meet. That artist was Chris Vennekamp. I had the opportunity to work with Chris and he taught me a lot. I was able to do a few collaborations with him and learned a great deal. I have also been fortunate enough to learn from and work with Brandon Bond, Dave Tedder, Short Parker, Tim Orth, Jace Masula, Chris Birdsong, Matt Dunlap, John Lloyd, Tony Mancia, Jason Adkins and Sam Hinson.

What other type of art do you produce? Paintings, video, flash, graphics etc?

I love working with black pastel, oils, and acrylics.

Was there ever a time when you realized you had figured this out or had an "art epiphany" about your own growth as a tattooer?

I have a new "art epiphany" every day. I believe that one can never stop learning or growing as an artist.  I am constantly learning new things and continuously striving to push myself.

What kind of inks do you use?

I use eternal, starbrite, national black (which is one of the blackest in my opinion) and a couple of millennium colors.

What is it like to work with so many artists from all over every day?

It is amazing. There is a ridiculous amount of talent under one roof and we constantly feed off each other. It constantly pushes me to improve myself.

What types of tattoos would you LIKE to do, like if you could start
doing any specific style a lot, what would it be?

I am actually doing what I enjoy doing at the moment. I like a lot of variety, anything that presents a challenge and allows me to explore different techniques.

Tell me about your kids (if you've got any?)

I have a beautiful 10 year-old daughter. She is amazing in every aspect and loves art as well. It is wonderful because we can draw and paint together.

What do you love about tattooing the most?

I love that there is no dress code, I get to meet new people every day, work in a super relaxed environment and most importantly, I am able to make a living doing what I love to do most; tattoo.